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Eating Animals

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  32,575 ratings  ·  3,924 reviews
Like many young Americans, Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between enthusiastic carnivore and occasional vegetarian. As he became a husband, and then a father, the moral dimensions of eating became increasingly important to him. Faced with the prospect of being unable to explain why we eat some animals and not others, Foer set o ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 342 pages
Published September 2010 by Hachette Book Group USA (first published 2009)
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dara
Jan 14, 2014 dara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to dara by: Jonathan Safran Foer's previous writing
This isn't as much of a review of Jonathan Safran Foer's latest book as it is a reaction to it--a reaction to the reactions of others, even. The title of this book garners a reaction from people who haven't read it and who may never read it. Just carry Eating Animals around for a few days and you'll understand. There's an assumption that a book about eating animals is going to tell you that it is in some way wrong to eat animals--whether for the welfare of animals or for your own welfare--and mo ...more
brian
TO SERVE MAN

i can't review this book. can't even finish it. the page-count to tears-shed ratio is just too high. and my head's not in the right place for this shit. (and talk about preaching to the choir…) -- i haven't read jonathan safran foer's novels and fuckoff what he's ever written or what he ever will write: he's a great man for this book alone. he's a great man by default, perhaps, because most people are such evil and miserable cunts. but, no. set apart from a race of miserable cunts he
...more
JSou
I am not a vegetarian. Honestly, I've never even tried to be a vegetarian at any point in my life. I love steak. I love bacon. I love sushi. I could go on, but you get the idea.

With my son not being able to have any sort of gluten or artificial coloring in the food he eats, I've always thought I was doing good by stopping by the actual farmer's stand to get fresh eggs and some fruit & veggies (one benefit of living in a small, hick town) and then picking up my nicely-packaged and already but
...more
Caris
My mother hates that I’m a vegetarian. Well, let me rephrase that: She hates the fact that my younger brother is a vegetarian because I am a vegetarian. See, she has to feed my brother. And she is lost. So, instead of actively finding alternative forms of sustenance for him, she has taken a fierce anti-veg stance. In the last week, she has said that vegetarians don’t get enough vitamins so their bones break more often, they eat more junk food than normal people, and that eating vegetables is dan ...more
Lisa Vegan
Nov 09, 2009 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody 16+; anyone who’s in a position to decide for themselves what to consume
Recommended to Lisa by: Christina
I was torn how to rate this book. It isn’t perfect (I noted many flaws in its comprehensiveness) but it’s amazing enough, so 5 stars it is.

I’ve read so many books such as this but none for a while, and it’s because reading about how humans use animals is so devastating for me. It’s not just the books’ contents, it’s knowing that, at most, only 1% of Americans feel as I do, that my feelings and beliefs are shared by so few (The latest statistics I have are that 3% of Americans are truly vegetaria
...more
m. boo.
i've long flirted with vegetarianism. for a few months in the early '00s, i even dated her. but i'd never truly wanted to spend all of my time with her, send her flowers, or introduce her to my parents (and everyone i've ever cared about) until i read this book.

foer claims early on that he hasn't set out to write a book about why people should become vegetarians, an argument that holds zero ounces of water once you actually start reading his descriptions of factory farms. i found it impossible t
...more
Sparrow
May 20, 2010 Sparrow rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Michael Pollan
Recommended to Sparrow by: JSF? No need for a recommendation
I don’t mean this dismissively, but I feel like I finally get what Charlton Heston meant when he cried out, “Soylent Green is people!! It’s peeeeople!” Just . . . I don’t know. That movie’s pretty silly, but I keep walking around the house feeling like all those years that I ate meat, I was really eating human souls. And I even knew almost all of this information before reading the book. I know I’m being dramatic, as per usual, but there really is something about food that brings out both the be ...more
Books Ring Mah Bell
Well done, Jonathan Safran Foer, well done.
(your book, not steak)

Look, I love meat. I really do. I hate myself for that, but I love meat. I also deplore seeing living creatures suffer. (I'm the jerk that lets spiders out of the house instead of squishing them.) I also know that if I had to kill the animal myself, I'd be a veggie for sure. I'm a total sucker for animals, but not enough of a sucker, I guess.

In junior high, I became a "crazy animal rights/environmentalist tree worshiping bunny hugg
...more
Greg
I’ve been a vegetarian for a few years now, and it was a long process that brought me here (literally too, I didn’t go cold turkey). I’m sometimes surprised by how little I thought about certain things throughout my life. And coming from someone who grew up with a face in a book, and his head in the clouds, I find this interesting. I over-thought and over-analyzed everything (or at least everything I thought about). I spent my days thinking about fantasy worlds and the future, about girls and re ...more
Chloe
“For us to maintain our way of living, we must tell lies to each other and especially to ourselves. The lies are necessary because, without them, many deplorable acts would become impossibilities.”
-Derrick Jensen

People cannot talk about their food choices without resorting to a narrative, and I’m no different. Food is so intensely personal; we relate to it on such an elemental level, that it’s easy to understand. The foods we eat are part of the mythos we use to delineate our identities. We eat
...more
Stephanie
Hear are my thoughts in order as I was reading this book....

1. OMG.....OMFG!

2. Crap...now I'm a vegatarian!

3. I can never have my favorite Mongolian Chicken from Mings again (snif).

Yes in that order. I have not eaten meat since half way through this book. Will it stick? I hope so.

Not only the mind numbing crulety of the factory farms (which is plenty), and the enviormental damage they cause, but the shear crap they feed the animals did it for me. H1N1....factory farms. traced back to a hog farm
...more
Rebecca
In his book Heat, Bill Buford reflects (as he prepares to butcher a pig) that he has always respected vegetarians for being among the few who actually think about meat.

In Eating Animals, JSF doesn't seem to respect much of anybody, other than his grandmother and Kafka. For all the promising ethical paths he walks down, from traditional animal husbandry to Bill Niman's sustainable beef to animal rights activism, he's so determined to shit on everyone else's ideas about eating meat that I'm not s
...more
Joel
I am floating this again (last time! Swear!), this time for the Facebook 30 Day Book Challenge. Day whatever I am on asks for a book that changed your life. I... don't know that I have ever read a book that really changed my life. But this one comes the closest.

That sounds a little dippy, but really. For years, I had skittered around the margins of vegetarianism. I'd forgo meat the majority of the time, perhaps even the vast majority, but I didn't have really concrete reasons as to why. Health?
...more
Eric_W
Addendum 2/11/10 at bottom, edited to remove some grammatical errors 5/20/10

For Feb reading club. This NYTimes science article should help heat things up: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/22/sci...

Joint review with Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma

Let's see, things we can't or shouldn't eat: butter, steak, meat, spinach because of the salmonella (or maybe it's only the organic spinach that gets contaminated), apples because of the alar, salt, sugar, fat, any food not bought at a farmer's market, any foo
...more
Jennifer
Eating animals ...is about eating animals..and much much more. I've always felt wrong for eating meat yet continued to do so. For some reason, I thought it would be so hard to give up. Over time my conscience spoke louder than my fears (denials) and the ball has been rolling ever since. I wanted some extra encouragement, so I ordered this book.

I knew about slaughter houses and what goes on: to an extent. Little did I know, I really knew nothing. I've ingested this food all my life! HOLYYYYYY SH
...more
Melissa
I think that this book has changed my life, albeit in a really f*cking inconvenient way. I've read Omnivore's Dilemma and Fast Food Nation and all the types of books that people who are trying to be socially conscious are supposed to read, and I know about the horrors of factory farming and how brutally animals are treated in the course of getting to my plate. But somehow it's been easier to live with it and ignore it in the past; Pollan even gives you a convenient out at the end of his book, wh ...more
Elizabeth
Edit 04/15/13

"About thirty years ago the poultry industry convinced the UDSA to reclassify feces so that it could continue to use automatic eviscerators (where fecal contamination occurs from high-speed machines ripping open the birds' intestines, releasing feces into their body cavities). Feces are now classified as a "cosmetic blemish."

What does this mean (other than the fact that consumers are eating chicken shit)? Inspectors condemn half the number of birds. So, according to journalist Scot
...more
Jo
Nov 09, 2009 Jo rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
This was a difficult but amazing read and in my opinion one of the most powerful books on this topic. I encourage and challenge you all to read it! Seriously if I could give everyone I know a copy of this book, I would. <3

Jonathan Safran Foer, who is probably most known for his book Everything Is Illuminated, has returned with his first non-fiction book. The topic: Foer's off and on struggle with vegetarianism and what prompted him to make the switch for good (the birth of his son). Throughou
...more
Max
I'm not sure I can say this book was amazing. This is a different kind of five star rating. But it is probably one of the most important. Foer is the first author to (successfully and/or popularly) consider the human impetus for storytelling and forgetting alongside the alarming facts of animal industry. I wish I had written this book (a little differently perhaps, but I still wish I had). But then it wouldn't have the impact that only a bestselling author can have. Condemning, creative, direct, ...more
Ginny Messina
There is no way that any compassionate and responsible person could read this book and not want to begin taking steps to end his or her contributions to factory farming.

Jonathan Safron Foer is not an animal rights activist and that’s not what this book is about. At the same time, it is not another Omnivore’s Dilemma, either. Eating Animals is a much more honest analysis of factory farming and it is also far more honest about the solutions. (In fact, it’s fair to say that this book makes Pollan
...more
Loederkoningin
I can't possibly finish this book. It makes me cry, feel disgusted and literally nauseous. I can only try to always be aware, a good vegetarian and support animal rights as much as I can.
Les
I typically rate books and do not write reviews. Why should I throw my two cents in about a topic when everyone else has probably said the same thing--and more eloquently? Do I need to repeat what has already been written just so I can see my name somewhere? It feels narcissistic. Or perhaps that is just a good excuse for not being able to add anything new?

This one is hard to leave without a review or reflection though. I am not even sure what a rating matters in this instance. I could give it a
...more
Lee
I’m sitting here after finishing this book asking myself how is it possible that only one short month ago I was an omnivore, regularly and obliviously munching away on fish and meat without the least idea of what goes into their production and delivery to my table.
The way this author approached the topic of eating animals really resonated with me. It was personal, it was engaging, he conveyed the information and expressed his preferences without making me feel I had to follow suit.

I love how h
...more
Rachel
Feb 26, 2010 Rachel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who think vegetarians are idiots or crazy.
OK, I better not die of H1N1 just because of these stupid factory farms! JERKO MEAT-EATERS and FILTHY CORPORATIONS!!! Thanks for ruining our world. DAGGONIT. Actually, I used to be a meat-eater, too, but once I figured out the disproportionately negative consequences of eating a meat-based diet compared to a plant-based diet, I CHANGED MY DIET. It wasn't that hard to do. So now I'm a jerko plant-eater. Yahoo! I hope lots of people will read this book and change their diets, too!

Oooh, "It wasn't
...more
Anna
Oh, Jonathan Safran Foer! What I'd love to know is whether you became a self-important, self-indulgent, and self-righteous jackass BEFORE or AFTER you became an international writing sensation. My guess is, after, when you'd already retreated into the overpriced clucky dreamworld of Park Slope. Because I can't see the voice behind the poignant, beautiful passages of Everything Is Illuminated penning the divorced-from-the-world fawning drivel of Eating Animals.

I wish I had never picked up this bo
...more
Dean Kakridas
This book for me was the final straw that broke the camel's back. (Ouch, probably not a good choice of words based on the theme of this book). Anyway, it was a thought evoking read, that for me, built nicely upon other books I've read like The China Study, Diet for a New America, and Food Rules: An Eater's Manual. Also a good follow to watching films like Earthlings and Food Inc..

I've been a vegetarian before for about 8 months. At that time, I didn't feel like I was fully prepared or committed
...more
Jessica
Apr 14, 2014 Jessica rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: animals, thesis
99% of all land animals eaten or used to produce milk and eggs in the United States are factory farmed. I can understand arguments on both/many sides of the issue of eating meat *in theory* (I really can!), but I can’t find any to justify the way we’re currently doing it. Food choices are tied to very legit emotional, traditional and cultural factors, which Foer explores in the book, and so discussions about them can rile people up like very few other issues. Although the book focuses largely on ...more
Darcia Helle
Everyone should read this book. Vegan, vegetarian, omniovore, carnivore - everyone. If you eat, you should read this.

I've read many books on the subject of factory farms, our health, and the food we eat. This one is by far the best. Foer didn't start out as an activist or even a vegetarian. He began researching this book because he was about to become a father and wanted to make the best and healthiest choices for his son. Because he had no preconceptions or agenda, the book is all the more hone
...more
Lara
Jan 04, 2010 Lara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who eats
Shelves: food, 2009, own
I knew this book would force me to face my own unresolved feelings about eating meat, my own wishy-washy commitment. I didn't know that it would affect me so profoundly, or make me think more than anything I've read in years. Much was not new information, but it's information I haven't faced with adult concerns and consumer influence. Halfway through I decided there'd be no more meat in my house. Like Foer, I've been an on-again, off-again vegetarian (more correctly pescatarian) since the age of ...more
Lori
ARC copy

It is very difficult for me to say that I liked this book. The subject matter is god awful, heart-wrenching, and will destroy the way you look at the meat on your plate at lunch and dinner time.

However, Foer did an amazing job researching family and factory farms. His presentation and story-telling skills are not to be ignored here. He shoves the genetic mutation, inhumane treatment and suffering of these poor animals into your face, pries your eyes open and whispers "see this? Now don'
...more
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Jonathan Safran Foer (born 1977) is an American writer best known for his 2002 novel Everything Is Illuminated. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, the novelist Nicole Krauss, and their son, Sasha.
More about Jonathan Safran Foer...
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Everything Is Illuminated Tree of Codes Everything is Illuminated & Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close The Unabridged Pocketbook of Lightning (Pocket Penguin 70's #11)

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